ABOVE: Copy of the ProgressNow NM Press Release Regarding the Recent PRC Decision on the San Juan Abandonment
ProgressNow New Mexico has published a number of articles about the deep ties the oil and gas industry has with former Governor Susana Martinez’ administration. But when you stop and look at the makeup of top lobbying groups like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), so-called Power the Future, and top lobbyists for other extraction industry titans, the numbers are truly stunning. At least nine top lobbyists currently working in the extraction industry (or lobbyist adjacent) came directly out of the Martinez administration. The big problem? New Mexico doesn’t have a law that requires a “cooling off” period for officials once they leave the public sector and return to private life.
Last week, we asked our readers their opinion about every three and four year old having access to high-quality, universal pre-k. Responses indicated that high quality, universal pre-k is not only a priority for families with young children, but it is also of importance to our community as a whole, providing a strong, educational foundation for future generations as well as an opportunity for New Mexico to improve pay for pre-k teachers, many of whom utilize food stamps and Medicaid to help make ends meet.
Our readers wrote to us with their pre-k stories- both the good and the bad, a reflection of the current state of our pre-k system. Some readers talked about the ways in which the pre-k system helped ready their own children for school, while educators chimed in about the difference they were able to see when a child has attended pre-k. Others, frustrated with the system, talked about the never-ending wait-lists, the lottery system that only serves a small portion of the population of three and four year olds, and the shameful pay that keeps some pre-k educators living in poverty. However troublesome, these stories are not new.
Yep, you read the headline right. This week, GOP Staffer, Stella Padilla, added to her own barrage of hate-fueled social media posts with a new image depicting deceased Civil War soldiers, the text above it reading: Over 620,000 White People Died to Free Black Slaves And Still To This Day Not Even 1 Thank You. (See below for original post and enlarged, *graphic* image.)
This is the same GOP contractor who sought to exploit the conditions in which asylum seekers were going to be housed in Albuquerque. After trespassing, she and GOP side-kick Dinah Vargas were kicked off the closed campus for unauthorized filming. You would think that the GOP-which has incessantly beaten the drum on Real ID initiatives, and is obsessed with people’s birth certificates would have done their due diligence to vet a prospective employee.
New Mexico has a methane waste and pollution problem – it’s costing our schools millions in revenue, ruining our air and harming our climate for future generations. Methane is a powerful climate change pollutant responsible for 25 percent of the warming we experience today. It is also the primary component of natural gas and a valuable energy resource. Each year in New Mexico, oil and gas companies waste $275 million-worth of natural gas through venting, flaring, and leaks which costs the state over $40 million in royalty and tax revenue that could fund public education. Oil and gas operations also release ozone-forming pollutants that worsen respiratory diseases such as emphysema and trigger asthma attacks.
Last fall, our boots-on-the-ground grassroots movement helped ensure we elected more progressive legislators to office. This January, we pushed progressive policy issues to the forefront at the Legislature. It’s now June, which means our calendar is stacked with municipal elections, legislative interim committees and a clock that’s counting the days until primary season! Fortunately, our Progress Now New Mexico team is growing to help keep you informed every step of the way! We’re excited to welcome another team member ready to fight battles on behalf of our progressive community.
Last week, the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees Local 1199, started a series of pickets against UNM Hospital (UNMH) after entering into contentious contract negotiations where local nurses, caregivers and staff would lose benefits that are already provided to them if they sign a new negotiated agreement. Now, the union is asking for community support in turning up the heat on UNMH. This Thursday, June 20 at 5:30pm, the union will hold another picket on Lomas, outside of UNMH. Members request the presence of community allies who believe in better working conditions, fair pay and respect for workers. The picket comes on the heels of UNMH’s deal to provide their CEO a cash compensation as high as $155,000 in addition to a base salary of $620,000.
A few weeks back ProgressNow New Mexico published a blog exposing so-called “Power the Future” for the (likely) Koch Brothers-funded mouthpieces they really are. The response from across the state has been incredible! Click Here to send a letter NOW! Our friends at Conservation Voters of New Mexico even sent our blog out to their members with a call to action to tell Larry Behrens, PTF’s local spokes-lackey and long-time NM conservative mouthpiece, that New Mexicans are not reversing course. We’re invested in clean, renewable energy future AND in ensuring that workers from across the state, including those in the oil and gas fields, are represented with longterm and sustainable options not tied to the volatile global energy syndicates.
The Bloomberg partnership will expand on this work in New Mexico, with one goal listed as making Albuquerque 100% renewable-energy-powered within the next five years.
Remember last month when we laid out how Washington DC based “Power the Future” was really just another (probably) Koch brothers scheme to undermine the debate around methane waste in New Mexico? Well in the last month we’ve seen them keep up the drumbeat put forward by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) with almost Pavlovian-like responses. Most recently, NMOGA has been saying that methane emissions are actually down in New Mexico. News flash: they aren’t. Even the Trump administration admits that climate emissions are basically flat (see chart below), and other analysises has shown that methane emissions in the oil and gas industry are on the rise.